Next stop: “The Polar Express.” Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University will play host to another Movies on the Field event Friday, Dec. 14, with Robert Zemeckis' 2004 animated North Pole adventure that features the voice of Oscar winner Tom Hanks.
The presentation of “The Polar Express” on ASU’s new giant video board will mark the third Movies on the Field outing for ASU 365 Community Union. It comes just weeks after the Sun Devil Stadium screening of the hit 2018 independent film “Sorry to Bother You” that included an in-person talkback with the movie’s director, Boots Riley. A joint effort between ASU 365 Community Union and ASU Film Spark in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, the “Sorry to Bother You” presentation brought hundreds to Sun Devil Stadium on Nov. 14 for a night of movie watching under the stars and on the football field.
Video by Charrie Larkin/ASU
“Sorry to Bother You” has earned a number of nominations in the current film awards season and was recently named one of the Top 10 Independent Films of 2018 by the National Board of Review. Riley’s participation at the screening at Sun Devil Stadium and a classroom discussion earlier in the day provided students with a rare opportunity to interact with the first-time filmmaker and learn about his journey into feature film.
Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, ASU vice president for cultural affairs and executive director of ASU Gammage, called the screening of “Sorry to Bother You” at Sun Devil Stadium “an historic moment,” marking Riley's footnote as the first director of a Movies on the Field screening to attend the event — just two movies into the new series.
Jennings-Roggensack and Adam Collis, director of ASU Film Spark, introduced Riley to an enthusiastic audience before the “Sorry to Bother You” screening and promised to continue the effort to bring more moviemakers to future events at Sun Devil Stadium.
Collis, who has helped guide students through the production of feature films such as the 2016 car-dealership comedy “Car Dogs,” also teaches the ASU film studies course Welcome to Hollywood, which allows students to interact with working professionals in the film industry live at the ASU California Center in Santa Monica and via video conference from ASU’s Tempe campus.
“ASU Film Spark exists because we like to connect ASU with incredible filmmakers and artists,” Collis said at the “Sorry to Bother You” screening. “We are delighted to be able to help realize this incredible ASU 365 Community Union concept that allows the football field to be used every day of the year for events like this.”
ASU 365 Community Union is transforming the use of ASU’s landmark outdoor football stadium into a multipurpose venue and cultural hub for ASU and the surrounding community — 365 days a year. From breakfast meetings and yoga to concerts and films, Jennings-Roggensack says the idea is to create a place where community members of all ages can participate in various activities when Sun Devil football is not in play.
The ASU 365 Community Union screening of “The Polar Express” will be presented in partnership with iHeartMedia and radio station 99.9 KEZ on Friday, Dec. 14. The G-rated holiday favorite starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $3 and free for children under the age of 2; there are also free tickets for ASU students exclusively on the ASU mobile app. Blankets and seat cushions are allowed and encouraged.
Top photo: ASU 365 Community Union, photo by Tim Trumble.